For each day of Royal Ascot this year, I will be joined by a special guest- one of the milliners whose work we have admired in our weekly “Extras” posts. From five different countries, I’m humbly honoured to welcome these five gifted couture milliners here to Royal Hats over the next five days to chat about all the royal hats we see at the races this year. Here is an introduction to these five lovely people that you’ll get to know more this week- click on any of the photos or logos to jump over to each milliner’s website to see more of their great work:
Internationally acclaimed milliner Jay Cheng is known both for her playful innovation and her meticulous craftsmanship. Since beginning her career in Fashion and Design in Hong Kong over 25 years ago, Jay has produced countless editorials and runway shows, and executed a wide range of costume, wardrobe, and styling for film, television, print, commercial, and live performances.
Jay fell in love with the art of Millinery and in 2004 began Jaycow Millinery. Since then she has created hundreds of bespoke pieces. Her international clientele include private hat- lovers, brides, costume designers, and renowned celebrities. Drawing on her background as a creative producer, Jay has an instinct for bringing out the unique personality, flair and poetics of an individual through her millinery creations. A rebel by nature, Jay’s design never ceases to challenge and surprise, yet each piece also demonstrates her profound respect for traditional craftsmanship. She has traveled the world honing her craft, and counts many of today’s millinery masters as her friends, teachers, and colleagues.
Today, Jay brings her unique style and design to Canada with her first ready to wear collection, Block Common, launching in the Fall of 2019. Mixing and matching her extensive collection of over 400 hat blocks from all over the world to create democratic shapes that break the rules and reveal the multiplicity of character. Known for special occasion custom pieces, Jaycow Millinery will take the same expert skill and hand make a collection of hats for everyday wear. Block Common is Jay’s fresh and contemporary take on popular common hat blocks from throughout the 20th century.
A highlight of her success has been being able to become a teacher of the millinery arts, Jaycow has been invited to run workshops and masterclasses in cities such as: Hong Kong, New York, London, Los Angeles, San Diego, Shanghai, and Toronto. Jay is currently based in Toronto and lives with her photographer husband, 2 sons, and 2 pups.
Wies Mauduit attended the Charles Montaigne Fashion Academy in Amsterdam (now the Amsterdam Fashion Institute), where she learned the basic skills of hat designing and millinery as part of the Haute Couture curriculum.
Subsequently she worked in Paris for 24 years, first at the milliners Jean Barthet where she completed her training. The House Barthet produced hats for the collections of well-known fashion designers such as Chanel, Emmanuel Ungaro, Jean-Louis Scherrer, Claude Montana and Sonia Rykiel. She then worked for nineteen years at the Comédie Française, the French National Theatre which has its own costume department, where she was responsible for the millinery workshop.
Wies moved back to the Netherlands in 2007 with her (French) husband and three children and settled with her family in the region of The Hague. In April 2015, she started her own millinery business under the name of La plus belle ! designing one off, bespoke hats.
Wies is a member of the board of the Dutch Hat Association (Nederlandse Hoeden Vereniging) and a regular contributor to Hatlines Magazine.
Ellie Vallerini is a couture milliner based in the beautiful British seaside town of Hastings where she makes elegant hats and headdresses perfect for weddings, races and events. Ellie’s designs show her love of colour, simplicity and style. Using traditional millinery techniques and a variety of materials, she makes each hat by hand creating an object of beauty and exquisite craftsmanship which, Ellie believes, adds to the magic of wearing a couture hat.
After gaining a BA Hons in Contemporary Crafts, Ellie moved to London to pursue her hat making ambition. She was awarded a Distinction in Millinery at Kensington and Chelsea College and won the Fashion and Textiles prize for the V&A’s ‘Inspired by’ in 2011.
Ellie went on to hone her skills through internships with renowned milliners such as Edwina Ibottson before being offered a post as Designer/Maker for Royal Milliner John Boyd. Over the next six years she developed her millinery skills and enjoyed working closely with individual clients at the Knightsbridge atelier, designing the perfect hat for each customer to look and feel fabulous.
In addition to designing and making her own range of couture hats, Ellie regularly makes commissions for the stage and some of London’s top attractions. She has collaborated with many external projects including national and charity events, music videos, fashion shows and photoshoots.
Lauren Ritchie discovered her passion for Millinery when she attended a short course in Millinery at Riverina Institute of TAFE in Albury during her final year of High School. She moved to Melbourne to complete her tertiary studies completing Bachelor of Applied Science – Fashion Design at RMIT and Certificate II, III & IV in Millinery at Kangan Batman Institute under Paris Kyne and Serena Lindeman. Working for Louise Macdonald, a well-respected Melbourne Milliner from 2011-2017, Lauren spent time in 2018 working for Jane Taylor London and Edwina Ibbotson Millinery in London.
Lauren has created pieces for Competitions around the world including MIMC, Parkins Fabric, Hatalk, MAA Design Award and invited to take part in the Flemington Oaks Day Millinery Award. Her pieces have featured in many theatre and film productions including, Foxtel’s Picnic at Hanging Rock and cloches for the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries on the ABC. Currently an Editor of The Hat Magazine and Hatlines, Lauren contributes to the global hat industry with her writing and produces the podcast series for Millinery.Info.
Note from Royal Hats: Lauren’s white mini boater with purple striped ribbon trim, shown in her profile photo above, was one of the hats that caught my eye on Day 3 (Ladies’ Day) of Ascot last year!.
Spanish born Rafa Peinador’s work drew considerable attention earlier this month as part of the Millinery Show at the College of Kensington and Chelsey. He writes, “I went to university to study advertising and marketing and worked for more than ten years in advertising. I became interested in jewellery making with unusual materials like paper, fabric, ribbons… and for a couple of years I taught jewellery design and making in an arts college. The big move happened when I landed in London with my partner, a few years of office work awoke my creativity again and after we adopted our son I decided to stay at home to support him. Starting my own business, allowed me to dedicate time to my children and to create bespoke and unique brooches and jewellery. A couple of years ago, my friend Rosalind asked me if I wanted to do a millinery course with her before she and her family moved back to Australia and my journey throughout millinery started. After a few weeks I was completely hooked, my life was changed and it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue a care as a milliner. The freedom, the creativity, the craftsmanship, and also the possibility to apply all my designer background and my previous knowledge about materials has made my journey an amazing adventure.”
Welcome to Royal Hats, all of you! I so look forward to learning from your immense millinery knowledge, expertise and experience as we chat about hats this week!
Photo credits: Franklin Lau; Kim Strobos; David Merewether; Beth Moseley; Lee Sanders; and Adrian Perlinski. Photos may not be reproduced without written consent.